Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Invisible Cities
Book Review
In 'Invisible Cities', Italo Calvino deals with the major crises of contemporary cities. Creating an imaginary world, the author seeks to delineate man's creative genius and to emphasize the complex challenges posed by our concept of modern cities.
The author devises an allegorical world set in the reign of the imperator Tartaro Kublai Khan, who establishes a relationship with Marco Polo, the great Venetian merchant. Written in the tradition of travel literature, this book can be compared to classics such as Virgil or Homer, who also told their stories through the great heroes of Greek myths.

In fact, Calvino portrays Marco Polo as a man endowed with an extraordinary talent for telling the spellbinding adventures he has experienced in the course of his journeys in the Far East. The imperator is fascinated with these awesome worlds and a very special relationship develops between the two of them. All descriptions of the cities begin with a dialogue, written in italics, between Marco Polo and the imperator. These dialogues are reminiscent of 'Thousand nights and one night'.
As Marco Polo describes each new city, starting with Diomira and concluding with Berenice, he explains to Genghis what it is that he observed about a city. Prominent themes include the first look, first encounter, the occupants, the way cities are put together, and what makes a city what it is or will become. The two spend hours fascinated over Kublai Khan's atlas. Eventually, the conversation boils down to whether or not a person can be separated from the city in which he lives.

The plot is subtle, with complications arising between who the men are and what they do for a living. The language is dreamy as if one drank wine while watching the sunset. A reader will more likely read a short piece and muse on it for a time rather than read it for the excitement. The dialogue between the two men is philosophical and meta-physical and requires attention to absorb.

The book features 155 cities, all of which are bear female names and not to be found in an atlas. The cities symbolically represent themes such as love, death and our relationship with technology. At times, they also reflect our unattainable anxieties or desires.
Despite its brevity, the book takes days to read -- at least, when read properly. After each story you have to stop; to think; to contemplate on the piece of poetry-in-prose that you have just encountered. Many a story hits a nerve. For me it was impossible, after such stories, just to turn the page and read on.
Invisible Cities


Thursday, August 5, 2010

TOS assignment - Malambuzha, Pallakad-Kerala

One of the most beautiful places I have visited in my childhood is Malampuzha, a lush green town, located near Palakkad, Kerala, 55 kms from Coimbatore. Malampuzha Dam is the largest reservoir in Kerala and is a combination of Masonry and an Earthen Dam. The dam is 6,066 feet high and crosses the Malampuzha River, a tributary of Bharathappuzha, Kerala's second longest river. The easiest way of approach to this place is via car or bus.
The Malampuzha Garden and reservoir have a scenic setting with the forested hills of Western Ghats forming the backdrop. The place also experiences wonderful climate throughout the year. The thick green forest area surrounding the dam gives one a refreshing feel. The forest houses a vast variety of flora and fauna.
There is a totally different world on the other side of the dam which one wouldn’t expect to see when he walks on the dam. Climbing up the dam, you could get panoramic views. On one side you see the reservoir and mountains. On the other are the garden and the green hills in the background. A walk along the long walkway atop the dam is worth an experience. Nearly two kilometers long, the walkway turns almost 90 degree about the middle. There is also a boat ride along the reservoir, where one gets to see many islets during the trip. In the garden itself, there is an artificial canal on which one could take pedal-boat rides.
The place also houses a Snake Park, a Rock Garden; a Fish shaped Aquarium, a Cable car that goes across the river and a Fantasy park. The snake rescue and rehabilitation center is in the garden complex. Managed by the Forests Department, the snake park accommodates several varieties of snake, poisonous and non-poisonous.
Below the dam there is a large garden. The garden has numerous green lawns, impressive flower beds, gorgeous pools, and relaxing fountains which simply eases one’s mind. One can spend several relaxed hours in the garden. There are several rest spots, under built-up structures or in the open, scattered across the garden. A Cable car passes above and a trip on it is another way to see the garden. The Cable car ride over the river thrills everyone and provides sufficient picturesque views.
The most interesting feature of the rock garden is that the whole place is made of unwanted and broken pieces of bangles, tiles, used plastic cans, tins and other waste materials. Within the Malampuzha Gardens is a large cement sculpture named Yakshi, created by the famous sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman. This dominant sculpture is a representation of mythical beings of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain mythology. There is a Hanging bridge across the garden parallel the dam's spillway. The hanging bridge is for pedestrians and is having a capacity around 50 people. The amusement park with many rides, the first amusement park of Kerala the Fantasy Park is just a walk away from the Dam and has enough fun for people of all walks of life.

Images Source: Google images, Flickr

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Here it begins..!!

Starting this for some reason.... Lots to Explore.. Lots to Learn... Lots to Share...
Will be comin up with many interesting things...
Hopin the same from you people!!